Occupational health and safety

The Group considers the dedication of human, professional, organisational, technological and economic resources to occupational health and safety as an investment, as it believes it to be fundamentally important to protect workers and includes among its objectives not only compliance with the provisions laid down by the law, but also measures taken with a view to continuously improving working conditions. A stringent conception of safety entails total engagement on the behalf of employees who, according to the activity performed and the respective skills and responsibilities, are required to play an active role in prevention. As such, particular attention is given to providing training and information to employees and conducting continuous monitoring, including the analysis of individual injuries, near-misses, and planned supervisory surveys.


Covid-19 emergency safety

The Group’s safety policy was also embodied in the management of the Covid-19 emergency, which saw, as of 20 February 2020, the establishment of a permanent Crisis Unit, operational also in 2021, to deal with the situation in a coordinated and timely manner, ensuring continuity of activities and provision of services and paying the utmost attention to the safety of all employees.

The approach adopted, in continuity with 2020, was systemic, with transversal initiatives extended to all employees and other specific initiatives, concerning the differences connected with the business and the various segments of the Company population, evolving from defensive reaction to long-term growth and empowerment of all personnel, as well as the organisation.

In addition to the new and different working methods already described above, the main measures taken to ensure the safety of workers have been:

  • updates, in line with pandemic and regulatory developments, of the “Manual for in-person activities – Covid-19 emergency management“ and of the “Single text of Group provisions“, containing prevention and protection measures and practical guidance on how to behave in the work environment;
  • alignment of emergency plans and procedures for each Business Unit and meetings of internal committees between management, Trade Unions and Workers’ Health and Safety Representatives;
  • management and distribution to employees, through the Group’s warehouses, of over 2,000,000 items of personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, gels) worth over 700,000 Euro;
  • delivery of more than 40,000 protection kits (masks, sanitizer, gloves, wipes) to office personnel at the reception desks;
  • sanitisation of workplaces and work vehicles;
  • organisation in shifts, as required, of personnel called upon to operate in-person to reduce any possibility of infection;
  • distancing of people in offices and common areas (through access management, signage, physical partitions, etc.);
  • assessments by the occupational health physicians before returning to work for all positive cases;
  • more than 400 monitoring visits to identify corrective and improvement actions and to verify employees’ compliance with the rules of conduct;
  • a dedicated Intranet area and extensive and timely information on all devices available to personnel (PCs, smartphones, tablets), with news, e-mail, posters;
  • visual safety communication with signs at all locations;
  • dedicated e-mail box available to all employees for doubts, reports and to facilitate the tracking of contacts with possible cases of infection. Over 36,000 e-mails have been handled since the start of the pandemic;
  • use of online training.

In 2021, the Group also initiated a corporate Covid- 19 vaccination campaign. The path, included in the implementation of the national emergency management plan, was made possible thanks to the Protocol signed on 06 April 2021 between the Government and Social Parties, which gave companies the opportunity to contribute to the national vaccination campaign. Iren seized the opportunity and immediately started a massive campaign of participation, aimed at all personnel of the Group, which ended with the collection of expressions of interest, while respecting privacy through a dedicated portal. Subsequently, through specific agreements with external health facilities, based on the tipageming and availability of the Regions, it was possible to implement vaccinations for about 600 employees.

Iren, the four parent companies (Iren Ambiente, Iren Energia, Iren Mercato and Ireti) and the main companies of the Group, have systems certified according to the international standard UNI EN ISO 45001 to guarantee the systematic control of aspects relating to the safety and health of workers, who cover 100% of the staff employed in certified companies (equal to 98% of the Group’s total staff).


Safety management

The Group’s safety management system is supervised by a single Safety Service within the Parent Company, which guarantees the standardisation of risk assessment methods, the identification of organisational, procedural and technical measures, and the training needs of personnel in the field. Specific procedures and systematic audits allow for the monitoring and the continuous improvement of this system to be pursued. Specific improvement objectives refer to the progressive computerisation of the Safety Management System (through the “G.AM. MA.” app which guarantees uniformity of approach and the relative monitoring activities), standardisation of the management of cross-departmental topics (including the issue of Group procedures regarding PPE, health checks, emergencies, injuries) and the progressive integration of newly acquired Companies incorporated into the Group.

Each Group Company organises at least one annual meeting on corporate security (Article 35 of the Italian Legislative Decree 81/2008), and, as a rule, one or two other meetings per year for discussion and updating attended by the Workers’ Health and Safety Representatives (HSR). Surveys and specific meetings are also carried out at the request of the HSRs and/or workers. The HSRs are also invited to take part in the visits to the workplace with the Occupational Health Physician (Article 25 of the Italian Legislative Decree 81/2008) and are involved in audits of certified systems.

The reporting and management of injuries and near-misses takes place through hierarchical channels and subject to supervision by the Prevention and Protection Service according to specific procedures regulating the process, which may be computerised and are accessible to all workers. A detailed analysis of the event is carried out, aimed at identifying the causes of unwanted events, and the necessary actions and skills to prevent them. A specific app (Safety App) on the company smartphones provided to all employees enables near-misses to be reported, promoting employee participation and facilitating the introduction of any corrective actions.

The Safety System documentation (procedures, emergency plans, operating instructions, guidelines for safe working, etc.) establishes the cases and situations where workers are required to distance themselves from potentially hazardous or unexpected situations, and/or to avoid certain activities requiring specific training for which they are not qualified. In this regard, the Group companies adopted specific procedures to regulate particular situations and risks (works in confined spaces or in case of suspected pollution, outdoor operations in case of weather alerts or employees operating alone, etc.).

The process of hazard identification and risk evaluation is regulated by procedures and a dedicated software that guarantees a standardised approach. For each working activity, the risks and the appropriate prevention and protection measures, personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to conduct said activities, proper conduct and any organisational measures or other requirements are identified and evaluated. Furthermore, workplaces are analysed to identify and evaluate the risks present, taking instrumental measurements where necessary. The assignment to each employee, directly or through groups (safety certifications) of the results of the assessments conducted on working activities and workplaces completes the risk profile of each worker, identifying the consequent general protection measures to be implemented such as the provision of necessary PPE, the need or otherwise for health checks, and the results of these, where applicable. This structured evaluation process is conducted and coordinated by the Prevention and Protection Service (PPS) of each Company, with the indispensable involvement of the operating units. The PPS also carries out periodic controls to check the correct implementation of the provisions.

Group companies with ISO 45001 certification are also subject to periodic audits planned by certified external independent auditors with the aim of verifying the correct implementation of the occupational health and safety management system. The results of these audits are brought to the attention of the management to enable the relative action to be taken.

Attention to such aspects is also demonstrated by the provision, in the Business Plan and in the MbO system, of specific objectives, assigned to the managers of the operating structures most exposed to these risks.

Main indicators of safety
Frequency index1 u.m. 2021
Total number of accidents no. 385
of which with serious consequences – non-fatal2 no. 3
of which with serious consequences – fatal no. 0
Hours worked no. 14,640,282
Frequency index

(no. totl number of accidents/hours worked x 1,000,000))

(no. total number of accidents/hours worked x 200,000)



Days of absence due to accident no. 12,836
Severity Index

(gg. assenza per infortuni/ore lavorate x 1.000)


Average duration of absence for accidents

(days of absence due to accidents/total no. accidents)

days 33.34

1 Accidents during travel and those not recognised by INAIL are excluded.

2 Injuries lasting longer than 6 months.


Near-misses1 by region and gender (no.) 2021
Piedmont 87
Emilia-Romagna 22
Liguria 27
Other areas 22
Total 158
Women 35
Men 123
Total 158

1 Near-misses pursuant to standard ISO 45001:2018.


Injury trends in 2021 show a slight increase in indices compared to 2020, which was more characterised by the Covid-19 emergency, both in the frequency index, at 26.30 (24.93 in 2020) and the severity index, at 0.88 (0.82 in 2020), but significantly lower than those in 2019 (30.53 and 0.98, respectively). The average duration of absence for injuries, 33.34 days, remains almost constant (33.03 days in 2020).

The “Iren people in figures” section shows the breakdown of the accident indexes for the last three years.


Health checks

Employee health checks are carried out on the basis of their assigned duties; these are organised centrally by the Safety Service while diagnostic checks are planned and conducted by a specialist external company. Pursuant to current law, the medical examinations are carried out (around 9,000 in 2021) by external Occupational Health Physicians, appointed by the employers of each Group company. A specific Group procedure defines the shared approach, including the standardisation of health protocols. The correct planning and monitoring of health checks for all workers is guaranteed by the G.AM.MA. app, on which are recorded: workers’ risk profiles according to the possible professional exposure level indicated in the risk assessment documents, the obligatory nature of the health checks, the date of the scheduled checks, the fit-to-work certificate and any provisions/ limitations. To respect personal privacy, information contained on the G.AM.MA. app is made available to employees, managers, senior managers, medical professionals and the PPS only when relevant. The G.AM.MA. application is certified to handle the requirements of the UNI ISO 45001:2018 standard.

With regards to occupational ill-health, the Risk Assessment Document (RAD) is maintained constantly updated and shows a very low level of professional risk, which vastly reduces the likelihood of occurence. This probability is minimal both upstream and downstream of the control chain implemented by the Group. Upstream, the results of the risk assessment document of Group companies are drawn up in collaboration with the Prevention and Protection Service Responsible (RSPP) and the Occupational Health Physicians and meetings are called to discuss the outcome of the RAD and as a result of the various inspections of working environments, during which, where necessary, any critical situations may be reported by the competent parties within their area of expertise, providing indications or suggestions aimed at improving working conditions. Downstream, the Occupational Health Physicians identify the residual risks and draw up a health check protocol shared at Group level, which aims to protect the mental and physical health of workers and to identify any potentially or effectively hypersensitive persons, correlating the working risk with specific diagnostic checks and enable the correct identification of any personal limitations or provisions. The Occupational Health Physician is however required by law to report any suspected occupational ill-health to the competent bodies. In 2021, two cases of occupational ill-health were recognized as such by INAIL.

No specific initiatives or programmes limited to serious work-related ill-health are envisaged; on the other hand, numerous welfare and prevention initiatives and programmes in general are envisaged, both at the level of collective agreement or special company bargaining and through the company Welfare system (see page 240).


Health and safety training

Among the primary objectives of the Group’s training activity are the improvement of behaviour and the strengthening of the culture regarding health and safety in the workplace, which continue to have a predominant role in initiatives aimed at employees. In 2021, despite the continuation of the health emergency that limited the maximum number of classroom participation and delivery methods, these topics registered a significant increase over previous years, with over 63,400 hours of training delivered, a per capita average of 7.2 hours and the involvement of 6,191 people in at least one initiative, equal to 70% of the average number of employees. The main initiatives were:

  • basic training and updates for managers, responsibles and workers, emergency and first aid officers, on specific risks (confined environments, electrical environment, asbestos, isolated work, biological risk from legionella), on the use of personal protective equipment (work at height, respiratory system, confined environments);

  • qualification and refresher courses for safety officers (RSPP/ASPP, HSR, site safety coordinators, fire prevention officers, managers and staff responsible for asbestos removal, disposal and remediation);

  • training and refresher courses on the use of equipment (fork-lifts trucks, earth-moving machinery, lifting platforms, cranes, tractors, etc.);

  • equipment training (bridge cranes, mobile generators, portable ladders, trolleys for the transport of goods and people and/or lifts/cable cars, waste collection machinery and compaction and environmental hygiene, manholes lifts and hatches);

  • specific internal procedures (production of advanced works plans covering electricity risk, management of work permits, emergency management, etc.).

The Training Portal is integrated with the “G.AM.MA.” app for security management, in order to allow for training needs to be constantly updated in relation to the risks to employees and the security responsibilities assigned to them, as well as to monitor the expiry dates of the relative updates. The effectiveness of the safety training is assessed through tests or, as provided for by law, through practical assessments.